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Prepositions with Exact times, Seasons, and Other Periods of Time

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In the previous lesson about prepositions, you learned that you use the preposition on before days of the week and in before the month and year.

What do you use with other times?

For example, what prepositions do you use before time such as “sunset” or “this moment?” How about seasons (summer, winter) and other periods of time?

Use “At” with Exact Times and Some Expressions

Use the preposition at with exact times and in some expressions.

Example sentences

With the exact time

  • My class starts at 5 o’clock.
  • The plane leaves at 7:43 p.m.
  • I’m very busy right now. Please come back at noon.
  • I woke up at sunrise this morning.
  • I want to take some photos at sunset today.

Note. Sunrise is the time the sun comes up in the morning. Sunset is the time the sun goes down at the end of the day.

With expressions

  • I’m very busy at the moment. Please come back later.
  • I don’t like driving at night.
  • All the students left the room at the same time.
  • I work for this company at present
  • We are leaving at lunchtime tomorrow.
  • Turn in your homework at the beginning of class.
  • Mary started crying at the end of the movie.

Notes

You say in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening but at night.

“At present” means “now“ or “currently.”

Use “On” with Days

The previous lesson has more information about using on with days and dates.

See more examples of days and dates below.

Example sentences

  • I have English classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • My brother and I are driving to Chicago on December 10. We will arrive on December 12.
  • Where will you be on your birthday this year?
  • My wife and I met on Independence Day ten years ago.

Also with “weekends”

  • I don’t work on weekends. I only work on weekdays.

Use “In” with Months, Years, Seasons, and Other Periods of Time

When talking about months (January, February, and so on), use the preposition in.

Also use in with years, centuries, and long periods of time.

Example sentences

With the month:

  • In the Northern Hemisphere, winter starts in December.
  • Many people travel to Florida in January and February.
  • My classes start in September.
  • In July and August, it’s very hot in Texas.
  • We moved to Colorado in April 2020.
    (Note that “April 2020” is a month. You add the year to it to make it more exact.

With the year:

  • We moved here in 2020.
  • The United States became independent from Great Britain in 1776.

With the century and long periods:

  • Technology changed very quickly in the 20th century.
  • The Industrial Revolution started in the eighteenth century.
  • Country music became very popular in the 1990s.
  • In the past, radio and television were popular forms of entertainment.

With other seasons and other periods of time:

  • I like to go out on walks in the morning.
  • I never drink coffee late in the evening.
  • I don’t like to take courses in the summer.
  • It is cold in Chicago in the winter. It starts getting cold in the fall.

Note.You say “on Monday morning” or “on Sunday afternoons” because you are talking about a day (Monday). However, you say “in the morning” or “in the afternoon” because you are talking about a period of time.

Important! Sometimes You Drop the Preposition

You do not use a preposition with days of the weeek and when you use last, next, every, and so on. For example, you say “I always eat pizza on Sundays” but you say “I eat pizza every Sunday.”

For more information, see the next lesson.

Practice

Complete a short exercise to assess what you have learned.

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